Wierzycka threatens to expose Gupta-linked SAP for ‘lecturing’ her on her tone

Magda Wierzycka.

Magda Wierzycka. Twitter

The businesswoman questioned whether the German company would pay back the money it made through its contracts with state-owned companies.

Sygnia CEO Magda Wierzycka has threatened to expose German software maker SAP for lecturing her on the “tone and precise expression” she should use when talking about the company’s payment of millions to Gupta-linked entities.

It was reported in March that the company said it had paid an estimated R128.6 million to businesses linked to the controversial Gupta family so it could secure contracts with state-owned entities.

Wierzycka tweeted: “Dear SAP.  Next time one of your PR people phones me to lecture me on my tone and precise expression when talking about SAP paying off the Guptas I will make the recording public. I too tape my conversations. At least McKinsey paid back the money. Are you?”

The McKinsey matter Wierzycka was referring to relates to money controversially paid to consulting firm McKinsey for work done towards a turnaround programme at Eskom. McKinsey had a contract with Eskom for the programme.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) charged that Eskom paid McKinsey and Gupta-linked Trillian Capital Partners almost R1.6 billion irregularly and that Trillian had not rendered any services to the power utility for the money it received.

McKinsey has since agreed to pay back R902 million to the power utility. However, the company stressed that the agreement was a full and final settlement and was not an admission of wrongdoing on its part.

SAP announced earlier this year that an investigation by law firm Baker McKenzie into South Africa’s contracts relating to Gupta-controlled firms revealed that it had paid more than US$8 million (R95.24 million) to intermediary companies controlled by the Gupta family.

The firm said a probe into its dealings with the Guptas found that it had paid about R128.6 million to businesses linked to the Gupta family between 2014 and 2017 in order to win IT contracts with state-owned companies.

However, SAP said there was no evidence of payments directly to South African government officials. But three senior SAP executives who were suspended in July last year have since resigned after being investigated by the company.

Earlier this year, Wierzcyka offered R900 000 as a reward to help authorities track down and arrest Ajay Gupta and former president Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane, who were understood to be fugitives at the time.

Wierzcyka’s tweeted threat was well-received by some Twitter users, with some comparing the Sygnia CEO to former public protector Thuli Madonsela, who released the State of Capture report that directed then president Jacob Zuma to establish a commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture by the Gupta family.

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